Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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Hot air

It’s the Wairarapa Balloon Festival this week.  The boy and I got up early to go and see the balloons.

It was just past dawn when the first one drifted into view.

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Definitely the most novel of all the balloons!

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Or was it?

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I thought the lighthouse definitely got points for novelty too.

IMG_1947 (800x800)The balloonists had set a course to drift over one of two ‘X’s set close to the town square.  The balloon that dropped their marker closest to the ‘X’ got the best score.  It was awesome to be so close to them!

It was interesting to learn that once air borne, it is not possible to change the course of the balloon – they can only go up or down. The skill of the pilot is in calculating how wind direction, speed and shear will affect their balloon’s flight path and launching at the right place.  By changing their altitude they can also gain access to differing air streams that can help them to change direction, but it is not an exact science by any means, from what I could see.  Not all the balloonists were able to drop their markers – some missed the drop points by quite a distance.

What a fascinating morning!

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A rural day out

Having moved to rural New Zealand, I am determined to enjoy all that being ‘in the country’ (as we say here) has to offer.  The annual Wairarapa Agricultural & Pastoral Society Show is being held this weekend, so the young man and I trotted along to see what was to be found!  For the benefit of readers who are not familiar with this kind of show, it is a local festival celebrating the best of the rural activity of the area that we live in.  There were sheep and cattle shown for judging, shearing and wool handling competitions, a wood chopping competition, baking and art competitions, agricultural vehicle and other equipment displays, many food and goods stalls and of course, a fairground for the kids.  It was a very interesting day out.

Well, the first thing that we saw were the sheep!  So many pretty sheep!!

Sheep

This particular fellow is a champion crossbred ram.  His fleece was incredibly thick – about half of that sheep is wool!  He was very friendly.  As you can see, he was loving the head scratches.  Look at that adorable face!

Friendly ram

Here was a lovely mama ewe and her twin lambs.  So cute, one black and one white.

Ewe and lambs

Champion fleece on display.

Fleece

There were also cattle being shown.

Cattle show

So clean and shiny.  It’s a pity they don’t always look like this… (the ones in the fields usually have poo all down the backs of their legs.  It looks gross.)

Cattle show

These pretty jerseys were waiting their turn to be judged.

Chickens

I’m still thinking about those chickens.  I want some so much!!

Yarn

There was yarn to be seen, but not bought.  These skeins were handspun that had been entered for the competition.

Knitting

I spied socks!

There was a hilarious sheep racing competition, complete with jockeys!

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Here they are at full gallop.

Sheep racing

There was motivation to race…

Sheep race

The first one to the end got to eat the most sheep nuts!

Equine show

There were riding events happening.  Such beautifully turned out horses and their riders!

Shearing competition

Of course, I had to watch the shearing and wool handling competition!  While these guys were being judged on their ability to shear,

Wool handling

these ladies were doing something equally fascinating, which was skirting and handling the fleece after shearing. They were being judged on their performance and speed.  It was also their job to take the fleece off the platform and keep the floor around the shearers clean of debris.  Fascinating to see the fleece able to be laid out on the table all in one piece after it came off the sheep.

Shearing

Lovely clean wool coming off the sheep.

All shorn!

And here they are, post haircut, waiting to go back to the farm.

There was a lot more to be seen of course, but I thought I’d just show you the interesting bits.  🙂

We went home and decorated the front yard for Halloween, but unfortunately, it seems that trick or treating is not a popular thing here in the Wairarapa, and we got no visitors!

Halloween

The young man was most disappointed. We thought this year that we would stay home and hand out treats instead of venturing out.  I’ll have to investigate options for next year!

Sunset

Still, it was a lovely day, and we had a beautiful ending as well.

If you celebrate Halloween, a Happy Halloween to you, and may your kids get lots of candy!


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This week

Well hello there, and a Happy Sunday to you!

Thank you so much for your lovely comments and support for my latest sock pattern, Sprig.  I’m so happy that you like it!

With Sprig finally off my radar, I’ve been focusing on finalising the pattern for my next design, Daisy.  With each passing design, my concepts seem to get more and more intricate, and although I am Super Happy with this next sock, I know it is going to be a possibly too fiddly for many.  It’s not really one of those talking and knitting designs.  So… I have also developed an alternative version which retains the main concept but does allow talking and knitting at the same time.  I am finishing the writing and testing phase now.  It is a very fun design – it will allow you to use up sock yarn scraps too!

I do have a finished object to show you!

Reyna

Reyna is done.  I love how it has turned out in Noro.  I added a picot bind-off to make it a bit more feminine.  It is a small scarf rather than a shawl in my opinion.  I think you could have a lot of fun with it in sport or DK weight – it would become a beautiful, large version that would be very snuggly in winter.

Having finished Reyna, I felt a large hole open up in my world of shawl WIPs… and quickly cast on for another one…

Empty Nets

This is the beginning of Empty Nets, a gorgeous design from Sonya Newbold that is also a contribution to the Sustain the Sea initiative, still very much on my mind.  I’m using Zealana Kiwi Laceweight in the Ponamu colourway.  Sonya is a very clever designer.  I love how this design is going to start splitting at this point into the net shapes with the wave borders on either side.

I have to share some yarn love.  When Anna Gratton featured these beauties, some had to come home to me!  The first is her Ocean colourway – it is a 400g hank of merino/mohair.  The second is Iris, in 100% wool fingering weight.

Anna Gratton yarns

I do have a particular project in mind for Ocean.  I thought it would make a very nice Kate Davies Northmavine Hap.  To my great joy, I have discovered that I do have the exact right match for the grey contrast!

Northmavine hap yarns

My early morning strolls in the garden to collect food for the rabbit and guinea pig have given me so much delight. It is such a nice way to start the day.

Wild poppy

A delicate wild poppy in the field next door, little papery petals still opening up.  So fleeting that if you do not catch a photo when you see it, the petals will have dropped before you come back.

Blueberry

The blueberry bush is very happy in its new home in the vegetable patch, and promises lots of delicious berries soon!

Purple chard

My mutant chard looked stunning against the rising sun.  New growth is appearing to replace the winter-worn leaves, but I did like the effect of the pink veins contrasting with the green leaves in the early morning light.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

 


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The Tui

The Kowhai tree in the garden has suddenly sprung into life this week and from what seems like nowhere, beautiful golden blossoms have appeared.

Kowhai tree

I swear I didn’t even see it budding!

Sitting outside, enjoying the last bit of the warm evening air, doing a spot of knitting and drinking a nice cold beer, I became aware of someone enjoying a nectar feast.

Tui

Loudly, be proclaimed this garden to be his personal preserve.

Tui 2

Look at his fluffed feathers as he calls his particular song of clicks, whistles and calls.  Tui are not songsters like the thrush or the blackbird, but they have a very distinctive, flute-like call.  Each Tui has his or her own song, so you can tell if the same one inhabits your garden after a while.

Tui 3

Such a pretty bird!  They are the first ones up in the morning, calling even before the sun begins to lighten the sky, and the last ones to bed, calling even after it has long become dark.

Tui 4

I love the mantle of white features and the white necktie bobbles.  See his beak covered in pollen?

Tui 5

The Kowhai tree has flowers rich in nectar, and is a favourite of the Tui.  You can be guaranteed a visit from these lovely birds if you have one in your garden!

I feel so lucky!  A Kereru on Monday, a Tui on Tuesday, what will I see tomorrow!?  😀

 

 


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The Kereru

I spied the cat out of the window looking intently up the tree.  It was an odd little face.  What was he looking at?

Cat and the Kereru

Oh.

Cat and kereru

The Kereru (NZ wood pigeon) and the cat eyed each other for a bit.  I anxiously eyed the cat, ready to run out and shout at him if he decided to climb the tree in pursuit of a fat pigeon dinner.

Kereru

Such a beautiful bird!  It was busy eating the young leaves from the tree.

More of the kereru

It obligingly climbed higher into the tree so I could photograph its stunning plumage.

Kereru

Then it flew away, and the disappointed cat settled down to bask in the last rays of the evening sun.

What a lovely end to the day, to see such a magnificent sight!